The USPS will be offering a special 3% discount
in July and August for mailers who include a two-dimensional barcode on a letter or flat according to James Cartledge, from Post&Parcel. The USPS is hoping the summer “sale” will highlight that technologies like QRCodes on physical mailings can help boost traditional direct mail response rates.
This is great news, right?
First, let’s take a look at what a 3% savings means. A 10,000 piece postcard mailing, going at First Class Presort rate, with an average postage rate of .369 per piece, would total $3,690 in postage. A 3% savings could mean $110.70. Sound great? Let’s think this over.
All you need to do is print a qrcode to get the discount.
No big deal, right? Your tech guys say that’s no problem. You already have a website, so you can just point everyone to it via the qrcode. You’ll make sure to add some instructions on the postcard to let everyone know you are hip to this new technology, and they should get a qrcode reader for their smartphone to check out your website.
WAIT A SECOND! If your website is not mobile enabled,
or you don’t have a micro mobile site experience, you can’t just “get a qrcode to go mobile”! The mobile web is different; customers who will scan your qrcode will be quite disappointed and confused if the content they see takes too long to download, contains a video that doesn’t play on their phone, or they need to pinch and flick and scroll and zoom. Get it? You need to START with a good mobile experience before you worry about printing your fancy new qrcodes.
So, what does this mobile experience stuff cost?
Well, that depends. If you have someone on staff who currently develops your website, you could point them in the direction of jquery mobile. I think this is a nice and quick framework to get a mobile version of a website up and running. Don’t use all the content you currently have – think about what you’d want if you were a customer and you were on your phone (yes, that means you need to stop thinking about YOU and start thinking about THEM). If you don’t have anyone on staff, look to invest anywhere between $2000-$8000 for a simple mobile web experience.
Are there any quick and inexpensive alternatives?
If you don’t have anyone on staff capable of developing a mobile site and you’re not ready to pay your printer, direct mail house, or a mobile agency, you might want to check out iflymobi.com. With plans from $6.99 to $99.99 a month, a pretty slick WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, templates, and reporting with analytics, this may just be your quickest way to market. If you’re looking to combine direct mail, the qrcode discount, and your social media channels, you might also consider using a Meet-Meme account. Meet-Meme qrcodes direct the mobile user to a slick “connection” page that lists all of your company’s social networks and other company URLs that are a part of your digital footprint.
Now’s the time to invest in your mobile strategy.
Just like 15 years ago was time to invest in a website, it’s now time to invest in a mobile website. If you’re already executing traditional direct mail campaigns this summer, ask your direct mailer about this discount and get started now on your mobile site that you’ll be driving people to. Don’t be fooled – this discount is unlikely to pay for your entire mobile site investment, but it’s a nice discount of postage for something you’re going to need anyways (by the end of this year, 1/2 of all people in the U.S. will have a smartphone).
So let’s review:
1) You need a good mobile site if you’re going to let people use their cell phones to find out stuff about you.
2) If you have talented staff, allow them to educate themselves about the mobile web.
3) Find a company that does mobile, and only mobile. Someone I know, like, and trust is Roll Mobile.
4) Check out Meet-Meme.com and iflymobi.com for quick and cool alternatives.
5) Tell everyone you know that qrcodes are cool – only if they lead to valuable content that doesn’t suck on your phone.